revision to correct spelling of name from Maas to Maass
In August 2012, a man by the name of Kevin Kelly reached out to me after he discovered via Facebook that my mother had been kidnapped and imprisoned in a nursing home by Mary Giordano, an elder care attorney with Franchina and Giordano in Garden City, NY. The same thing happened to his beloved grandfather by the same parties who destroyed my mother. We talked at length about the emotional hell we and our loved ones suffered at the hands of these people. He wanted his story told; however his physical and emotional health was such that he was unable to write it. This is the first part in a series of articles Kevin is writing about his family’s ordeal.
By Kevin Kelly
“My name is Kevin Kelly. I live in Manhattan, NY. My story is about the kidnapping and abusive guardianship of my grandfather, Richard Maass, at the hands of Mary Giordano, an elder care attorney and partner with Franchina and Giordano law firm in Garden City, NY. The late Judge Joel Asarch of the Nassau County Supreme Court in Mineola was the presiding judge who allowed these atrocious acts against my grandfather to happen, along with Anne Recht, the geriatric “care” manager of AMRecht Associates in Plainview, NY. I fought very hard to save my grandfather from these people; at a great deal of monetary, emotional and physical expense. No one in charge would listen; no one in charge cared; or so I thought, until I discovered that my grandfather was one of many victims of this particular trio; and one of thousands across the country.
My grandparents lived in their house in Glen Head, Long Island, since 1951. My mother and I moved there in 1981. We had our own apartment there and paid rent. We took care of my grandmother when she became ill until she passed in 1998, and we cared for my grandfather as his health started to deteriorate. Around 2001, he was officially diagnosed with Alzheimer’s. Mom then hired a full-time aide to care for Grandpa in 2005 after she became ill. My Mom passed away in 2006.
After my Mom’s death, I continued to live in the house, pay rent, and spent many hours every day with Grandpa. Due to many months of chaos after my mother passed, one of my cousins who lived locally started to come around. He somehow managed to have a “new” power of attorney drafted in 2006, giving him complete control of my grandfather’s estate. When I looked over the paperwork months later, I discovered there was over $40,000 in missing funds. My attorney and I requested that my cousin return the funds and discharge himself as POA but he refused.
Since we were unable to get things resolved, I had my attorney file a motion in court in 2008 to have my cousin removed as power of attorney and have me assigned as guardian. Judge Asarch assigned a court evaluator to investigate and file a report. The report filed stated that I was very close to my grandfather, that my grandfather was very happy living in his home with me and he recommended me as the best choice for guardian. However, my cousin stated that he would fight it if I was appointed. Our attorneys agreed that we would let the courts appoint a guardian. I was completely unaware of what that truly meant. Judge Asarch appointed Mary Giordano as guardian and Anne Recht as geriatric “care” manager. We signed an agreement whereby Mary and Anne would be paid out of Grandpa’s funds, $600.00 and $500.00 per month respectively to “care” for Grandpa. A new full-time aide was hired to care for Grandpa 24/7.
Judge Asarch ruled that because I was not immediate family, I had to move out of the house. Rather than fight a lengthy court battle, I moved to an apartment in Massapequa in March, 2009 and continued to visit. One day in September 2009, I called the aide to let her know I was on my way over and she told me that Mary Giordano called and told her to pack my grandfather’s clothes because she was moving him to a nursing home. Mary never called anyone in the family to let us know nor did she discuss this with anyone. The aide was as shocked as I was, since he was happy and doing very well in his own home.
I rushed to the house immediately. When I got there, Anne Recht was there and the aide was packing for him. I asked Anne where he was going and she refused to tell me, stating that he was better off not seeing anyone for the first few days so he could “acclimate.” I called Mary and she claimed his money was running out and could not afford to live in his own home anymore.
My lawyer and I requested a hearing immediately after Grandpa was kidnapped. He told me that he never received any paperwork and that what Mary did was illegal; that an order had to be signed by the judge and no order was ever signed. We requested a hearing on the matter. Judge Asarch’s only response was that the move was not handled “properly.” We also advised Judge Asarch that this new nursing home was not a safe location for him, that the home was very dirty and smelled like urine; that it was very short-staffed. He was also forced to eat a kosher diet since non kosher food was not allowed. He was not allowed to have something as basic as a ham and cheese sandwich. In answer to our complaints, both Mary and Anne stated that Richard Maass was “very happy there, smiling and nodding and very talkative.” My grandfather was not at all talkative and only spoke with people he knew. They also stated that he was “too old to be eating what he liked anyway and should be on the nursing home’s diet.” Judge Asarch ruled in favor of Mary and Anne.
When Grandpa was first moved to the nursing home, the staff would always answer my questions and willingly discuss his care with me. However, as his health continued to decline and my aunt and I voiced our concerns and complaints, Mary Giordano advised the staff that they were no longer allowed to answer any of our questions or address any of our concerns. Only Mary Giordano and Anne Recht had that right.
By January 2011, my grandfather’s health had deteriorated substantially. At that time I was visiting him daily and my aunt and I requested that he be moved to hospice. However Anne Recht claimed that he was too sick to be moved. We then requested palliative care. Anne said she would take care of it. There was never any sign of this care and it was apparent that his suffering and pain was increasing each day. When my aunt and I complained to the nursing home, they told us that no paperwork was ever submitted by Anne and they could not do anything for him at all without her approval. Nothing was ever done despite all of our calls and requests. I had to watch my grandfather suffer daily, in tremendous pain, until the day he passed away, February 28, 2011.
On the day of my grandfather’s wake, I arrived at the funeral home with my father. There was just one wake being held at that time. When I walked into the room, I was shocked to discover that it was not my grandfather who was in the casket. I approached the funeral home director who told me that my cousin contacted him and told him to change the date; that Mary Giordano was aware of this and in full compliance. The reason given was that a family member from Florida needed time to travel, which I knew to be false.
When I called Mary she claimed she had sent an email to my lawyer informing him of the date change. My lawyer advised me that he never received any such email. Mary’s secretary told me a different story. She said the reason the change was made was because they could not get a limousine that day. When my aunt called my cousin to find out what happened, he claimed that he changed the date because another family member from Vermont needed time to travel. To this day, we never found out what the truth really was.
That was one of the most difficult days for me. I had to contact family and friends and let them all know of the date change. Some were already on their way; some had sent flowers. My grandfather’s pastor was unable to give the eulogy on the new date due to previous commitments. What upset me the most was that all of these people–my cousin, Mary Giordano, Judge Asarch and Anne Recht—not only ruined the last few years of this wonderful man’s life but could not even show him any respect in his death. None of these people loved or cared about him, but I do believe they loved his money.
I cannot even begin to tell you how much pain this situation has caused me. Every day I think about him and wonder what more I could have done to save him. It is now almost three years since his death and I miss him every day.”
- In Remembrance of Dorothy Wilson October 23, 2013 (judicialdestructionofdorothy.wordpress.com)
- Family sues nursing home after grandfather’s death (abc.net.au)
- Medication errors inside nursing homes (wxyz.com)
- Report: Nursing Home Shift Needs More Oversight (wnyc.org)
Jack Halpern, Founder and CEO of My Elder Advocate, is a trusted advisor for elders and their families, assisting them with drafting blueprints for their future.
He and his team help clients navigate the difficult and sometimes confusing pathways of elder care. As a result, elders and their families have peace of mind knowing, a plan of action is in place to help them maintain control,
preserve their dignity and protect their independence, finances, property and rights.
by Jack Halpern-My Elder Advocate
At some point in an elder’s life, a fall, stroke or other debilitating illness or condition makes it necessary for them to enter a nursing home. Unfortunately, nursing homes can be extremely dangerous places for the people they are charged with protecting!
Placements in a nursing home could be for a brief period of physical and occupational rehabilitation. But in many cases, long-term placement is required because an elder can no longer function without 24/7 skilled care.
There is no greater fear for an elderly person than being placed in a nursing home – even on a short-term basis. This fear is well founded in reality. The Federal Government admits that 45% of our 16,000 nursing homes are substandard. Another 25% of our nursing homes are labeled as “average.”
There’s not much room for error. These statistics mean that the uninitiated need an experienced navigator to cross enter this often-dangerous jungle… because the consequences of being in a bad nursing home can lead to death.
10 Top Sources and Causes of Nursing Home Crises
Nursing homes are supposed to keep elderly family members safe. Unfortunately, that’s not always the case. These 10 line items create compounded problems that multiply until the only result is a death that didn’t have to happen the way it did.
Poor Staffing – Although there is a direct correlation between adequate staffing and quality of care, an overwhelming majority are regularly understaffed. This is especially true in the for-profit facilities that constitute 65% of U.S. nursing homes. In addition, because a majority of nurses’ aides and ancillary workers in facilities are underpaid and others work two shifts, this increases the risk to residents’ lives even more. Many for-profit nursing homes keep their facilities artificially understaffed.
Poor Infection Control – A dirty and germ infested environment is very dangerous to people whose health and immune systems are already severely compromised. Poor housekeeping, patient handling, food handling, and poor training are mostly responsible for this risk.
Decubitus Ulcers (aka Bedsores) – Bedridden nursing home residents may develop bedsores as a direct result of poor nursing care. Bedridden elders should be moved or repositioned every 2 hours to minimize rubbing, pressure, and friction. Lubricants and protective padding may also be helpful. Incontinent patients are particularly susceptible to bedsores because exposure to moisture from urine increases the risk of skin damage. Incredibly, more people in nursing homes die from complications resulting from bedsores than from any other illness. Click here to Learn More
Poor Nutrition – It’s a well-known fact that the lack of adequate nutrition can result in malnourishment. In turn, that can lead to a host of physical and mental problems –– including increasing the risk of developing bedsores. Since many residents have to be fed, lack of adequate staffing exacerbates this problem. In many cases feeding tubes are suggested for residents, to accommodate the staff.
Chemical Restraints and Management – Poor nursing homes use anti-psychotic drugs to manage or chemically restrain their hard-to-manage residents. Alzheimer’s and Dementia residents are especially at risk of being overmedicated with anti-psychotic drugs such as Haldol™, Risperdal™, Adavan™, and Seroquel™. The prolonged effects of these drugs are harmful and usually lead to death.
Nursing Home Evictions – There are many reasons why a nursing home might want to evict a resident. There are only five specific and clearly defined instances in which a resident of a nursing home may be evicted. It is clearly illegal to remove a resident for any other reason. Yet hundreds of residents are evicted every day from facilities. In some cases, a nursing home might not want to release a resident. This usually occurs when the resident is paying privately and the nursing home doesn’t want to lose the revenue.
- Report: Nursing Home Shift Needs More Oversight (wnyc.org)
- Is your loved one safe? The growth of nursing home abuse and how to detect it (examiner.com)
- Thousands of U.S. Nursing Home Residents Have Savings Stolen by Trusted Care Facilities (truthfrequencyradio.com)
- Inspection found serious problems at Greenfield nursing home (jsonline.com)
- Fine slapped on five doctors of nursing home (assamtribune.com)